LE Sept

Toronto

David Trautrimas: A Standard Parcel (2011): Courtesy LE Gallery, Toronto.David Trautrimas: A Standard Parcel (2011): Courtesy LE Gallery, Toronto.

By Trish Boon

LE Sept
LE Gallery
February 4 - 27, 2011

This February, LE Gallery celebrated its seventh anniversary with a group show. The exhibition was a combination of works by promising new artists, as well as some intriguing artistic explorations by members of the gallery’s roster.

LE has come a long way in the last seven years. Director Wil Kucey originally opened the space as a rental gallery to showcase his acquaintances at art school. It soon became apparent that the showroom filled a niche that could only be fostered within a commercial gallery setting. Since that transition, the gallery has developed a strong reputation for showing high-calibre, technically sound, contemporary work.

Strategically placed at the entrance of Le Sept were the colourless layered outlines of Montreal’s Pierre Durette’s paintings. Linear mazes of ink contour drawings are layered on acrylic, creating a flat, sensual lustre reminiscent of encaustic. Using the kitschy historical recreations featured in National Geographic, the artist’s Propagation series leads the viewer into a culturally and historically diverse web of contrary visual fragments. Durette was discovered by the gallery’s other amateur anthropologist/historian artist, Amanda Nedham, whose meticulous pencil drawings from her Like Milk and Blood series (2010) were also on show.

Pierre Durette: Propagation 2.6 (2010).Pierre Durette: Propagation 2.6 (2010).New absurdist architecture from Moriyama + Teshima prodigy Tom Ngo lead viewers into the exhibition from the opposing wall. Larger in scale than his previous paintings, Sphinx (2010) represents a key step in the development of Ngo’s work. While similar in style aesthetically, the buildings in this new painting represent a lifecycle rather than focusing entirely on the creation of architectural impossibilities. Named for the ancient Egyptian myth of the Sphinx’s riddle, abundant clues to the painting’s concept are tucked away within subtle details.

Gallery artist David Trautrimas’ evolution was also evident at this exhibition. The digitally rendered A Standard Parcel (2011) is a complete technical departure from the photo-based work of his last three series. A Standard Parcel is an experiment but, judging from the success of his previous projects, the upcoming series will likely be an exhibition to look out for later in the year.

Tucked away at the back of the exhibition is Rumour Tree (2010) by Japanese artist Mitsuo Kimura, one of the few non-Canadians showing at the gallery. The flawlessly cultivated graphic style of Kimura’s work fits easily in this gallery, which has long represented one of Canada’s leading graphic artists, Nicholas Di Genova. At home in Japan, despite the facelessness of the daisies in his work, galleries refused to show Kimura’s work for fear of offending the mighty Takashi Murakami - an unfortunate reality that prompted the young artist’s departure from Japan.

It’s exciting to envision Toronto as a career destination for young and talented international artists. With exhibitions like this, showcasing strong emerging local, national and international contemporary work, it’s not unfathomable to imagine a richly creative future for this city.

Trish BoonTrish Boon is an artist, writer and arts educator based in Toronto. She has previously written for Canadian Art magazine and writes her own blog, which features articles based on conversations with Canadian contemporary artists. Boon also designs jewellery and printed fabrics, which can be seen here.